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Russell Westbrook downplays upcoming showdown vs. Lakers

Rockets, Russell Westbrook, Bleacher Report

Houston Rockets point man Russell Westbrook didn’t flinch when prompted to delve into the team’s upcoming matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The fast break demon answered in typical Westbrook fashion, seeing the Lakers as just another blip on the schedule and nothing more:

“Just play,” said the Rockets superstar. “We play our game. We’ve won there already. It’s just another team, another game for me, honestly. Just go out there and compete. That’s it.”

This might be another game for Westbrook, but it surely isn’t just another for the Lakers. While they won their first meeting, the Lakers lost to the small-ball version of the Rockets on Feb. 6, as Westbrook went off for 41 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in a 10-point win.

The Rockets star is averaging 38 points and 6.0 assists per game against the Lakers this season, shooting an incandescent 62.7% from the field and 50% from deep in their two matchups.

While Westbrook is likely to approach this game like any other, rest assured the Lakers will have a game plan to slow him down. This is especially true after losing focus in the fourth quarter and allowing the Brooklyn Nets to break their winning streak on Tuesday.

Thursday’s matchup will really determine if the Rockets have truly broken through their skid or if they are still struggling with this new small-ball lineup and some poor shooting from the perimeter.

Westbrook has been on a tear since the start of the year, but has yet to reach the 30-point mark in four games in March.